Automotive > Connected Mobility Blog

Mobility Lives! Car Sharing Shines!

by Roger Lanctot | Dec 14, 2020

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic back in the spring of 2020, the outlook for mobility services suddenly turned bleak. Micromobility operators shut down completely in some global markets, ride hailing operators evaporated, car sharing spiraled downward, and public transit nearly shutdown in some cities.

Ten months into the evolving crisis, micromobility operators are bouncing back, ride hailing companies are limping back, and mass transit is struggling. Car sharing, though, has snapped back stronger than ever.

In spite of some high profile departures from the market including General Motors' Maven and Daimler-BMW's DriveNow in the U.S., car sharing operators across the globe are reporting rising participation and usage especially in the peer-to-peer sector of the market. After flirting with a near-death experience early in the summer companies large and small from Turo and Getaround to smaller regional club operators are reporting rising demand as consumers turn to car sharing for ad hoc automotive needs.

It is in this context that Strategy Analytics has published its database of peer-to-peer car sharing operators encompassing more than 50 unique service providers across 33 countries. China stands out among this mix of P2P players, with car sharing demanding standing out in the largest auto market in the world where restrictions on vehicle purchasing and usage have stimulated demand for both ride hailing and car sharing.

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What has emerged from the pandemic-spurred recovery is a global phenomenon with more than 1.3M vehicles offered on more than 50 P2P sharing platforms, and 42M users. The number reflect the market realities of low barriers to entry, and a compelling low-cost, low-investment business model. More than half of the P2P companies in the Strategy Analytics database were founded with the last three years - suggesting competition is just beginning to heat up.

The newfound success of car sharing also suggests a preference for a driver-free, do-it-yourself, on-demand approach to vehicle access at a time when vehicle ownership may either be out of reach financially or unnecessary in an economy dominated by shutdowns. The preference for car sharing is also reflected in consumer research conducted by Strategy Analytics which shows low net-promoter scores for ride hailing solutions across the world.

The consumer study concluded: "The fact that no service surveyed for this effort has a 'good' Net Promoter Score is further evidence that mobility providers must undertake arduous efforts to establish a stable user base. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has thrown an additional wrench into the plans of mobility service providers, as travelers are hesitant to return to any form of shared transport."

As for car sharing: "Relative to ride-hailing and public transport, car-sharing investment is rebounding. Though ideal use cases remain somewhat narrow, consumers may find car-sharing or car clubs more convenient and useful for travel during the pandemic, given easier methods for access than traditional car rental services."

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The data show car sharing overall (including non-P2P car sharing) gaining significant traction in the U.S. and Europe - but truly exploding in China. Interestingly, Europe is experiencing the greatest fragmentation in car sharing with dozens of local operators throughout the region - while China has a smaller number of larger players.

Just as new and used car sales have recovered in most markets, as consumers turn to individualized transportation options over mass transit, car sharing is attracting interest from consumers prepared and willing to do their own driving. How regulators and municipalities will respond remains unclear. A growing preference for electric vehicles for car sharing fleets is reflected in the Strategy Analytics data, but P2P offerings are generally beyond the reach of regulators. More surprises are sure to arise from car sharing models. It's good to know there is at least some good transportation news emerging from the pandemic.

Relevant Strategy Analytics reports:

In 2020: MaaS Usage and Customer Satisfaction Still Do Not Align:

Global P2P Car Sharing Database: 2020 Topline Report :

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